Climate: Storm surge damage costs forecast to soar

‘If we ignore this problem, the consequences will be dramatic’

Winter storm surge eats away a beach on the west coast of Florida.

Winter storm surge eats away a beach on the west coast of Florida. bberwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Watching damage from individual megastorms like Hurricane Sandy and Typhoon Haiyan is bad enough, but the outlook for coming decades is downright scary.

According to new research, global average storm surge damages could increase from about $10-$40 billion per year today to up to $100,000 billion per year by the end of century without significant adaptation measures.

“If we ignore this problem, the consequences will be dramatic,” said Jochen Hinkel, a researcher with the Berlin-based think-tank Global Climate Forum. Continue reading

National Hurricane Center develops new storm surge warning

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The National Hurricane Center is preparing a storm surge warning product to help prepare coastal areas for dangerous conditions.

Climate change, population growth making more people vulnerable to coastal threats

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Though climate change wasn’t mentioned directly during the first panel session at this year’s Glenn Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge, it may have been the invisible 800-pound gorilla in the room.

Looking back at the 2012 season, National Hurricane Center director Dr. Rick Knabb said this year’s tropical storms were all about the water, rather than winds. Rainfall and storm surges from storms like Isaac and Debby had significant impacts while the centers were far offshore and even though their winds weren’t particularly strong, Knabb said.

Those impacts are only expected to increase in coming decades, both because of the steady rise in sea level, as well as the fact that an ever-increasing percentage of the American population is living in coastal areas. Continue reading

Activists claim Hurricane Sandy is product of global warming

Storm expected to have widespread impacts on East Coast

A satellite view of Sandy spinning near the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A summer that started with a powerful and destructive Derecho across large parts of the eastern U.S. could end with a monster hybrid storm slamming the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, putting a punctuation mark on six months of extraordinary record-breaking weather, including heat waves and drought.

Hurricane Sandy, generating winds of 75 mph, is heading northward from the Caribbean and could make landfall early next week, bringing devastating winds and flooding to wide swath of the Eastern Seaboard, according to the National Weather Service.

Many forecasters are calling the storm and unprecedented event, while others are comparing it to the so-called perfect storm of 1991, when another tropical weather system merged with an early winter system from the north, sinking the Andrea Gail, a long-line swordfish boat. Continue reading

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